Clouds Movement and Type


Tanisha Guterz-Kwaaning

John Farren

5055 S. State


(773) 535-1440




This lesson is designed for 5th – 7th grade. However, this lesson can be modified for any grade level. Students will learn how to determine cloud movement and direction.  Students will be able to differentiate between the different types of clouds.  Students will also be able to predict the weather based on the types of clouds they observe.




Teacher: mirror, cloud chart, cotton candy, and white paper

Students: construction paper, nephoscope, glue, cotton, scissors, markers and labels




You may start with a lead-in motivator such as a cloud in a bottle, a book about clouds or a poem about clouds.  You may also tell the children that it is a cloudy day and to just look out of the window for a few moments.


1)     Teacher will begin by clouds and what they are. 


What are clouds?                                                        

Where do they come from?

What are they made of? 

How do they move? 

            Are clouds all the same or are they different?

            What do clouds remind you of?

      2)   Describe the different characteristics of clouds.

Teacher will ask students to draw some clouds on the board.

3)   Teacher will then ask: Have you ever noticed the cloud movement?

4)   Teacher will explain that the direction of cloud movement will tell you the wind direction. It also tells the meteorologists which way the wind is blowing.

5)   Students will become meteorologist.  Meteorologists use all types of computers and special devices to predict the weather.  Well we don’t have those gadgets but we can make one.  We will make a device call a nephoscope.  This is a device used to help us track cloud movement.  We will then know from which direction the wind is blowing.

6)   Student will be put in groups of two or three (It depends on how many mirrors you have). Each student will be given a mirror and a handout (the handout should have a square the same size and shape of the mirror with a medium sized hole in the middle. The students should be able to see the clouds moving in the mirror when they lay the mirror on the ground).  Students must use scissors to cut out the square and then the circle.  The square paper with the hole in it should then be taped on the top of the mirror.  The hole should reveal the mirror. 

7)   Students should now write the cardinal points on the paper (N, S, E, and W). See example below










8)   Teacher and students will now move outside.  We are all meteorologists now.  We will refer to each other as Meteorologist.  (Meteorologist Bobby, etc.)

9)   Once outside students first look at the clouds and just observe for a few moments. 

    10)   Next students must place their nephoscopes flat on the ground.  They look into the mirrors and notice the movement of the clouds.  Students must note what direction the clouds are moving in.  (If clouds are moving toward the east then winds are coming from the west). You can use an instant camera to take pictures of the clouds.  They will come out perfect.

    11)  Students will then be told to focus on one cloud. Observe the shape, the movement, and the position of the cloud.  Students will then be asked to close their eyes while the teacher counts to five.  Students will open their eyes and observe any change in the cloud they focused on.

    12)  Students will be asked if the cloud is a solid, liquid, or gas.

    13)  Class will move back into the classroom and take a look at the pictures of clouds. (Chart or photos.) 

    14)  Meteorologists will talk about the different types of clouds and the names for them.  We will also talk about the weather conditions that the clouds may bring.  We will also discuss the altitudes of the clouds and how it affects cloud movement that brings about the change in weather.

    15)  Student will be asked if they see certain cloud in the sky what type of weather can they expect. 

    16)  All groups will be given construction paper, glue stick, cotton, a handout, and labels with the names of the different types of clouds.  Each group will be asked to create a certain type of cloud and label it, then predict the weather they will expect. 


Performance Assessment:


Students will create and label certain types of clouds with cotton, construction paper, and glue. Students will predict the weather based on the clouds they create.  Students will name different types of clouds when given a description of the weather.  Students should be able to perform successfully at least at 85%.




The culminating activity will focus on how clouds taste.  Students will be asked what do they think clouds taste like.  Students will be given cotton candy to eat.  They will learn that these types of clouds taste sweet.  Students may use the Internet for further observations of weather predictions and clouds.




Science Is…. Susan B. Bosak.  Ontario, Canada: Scholastic Canada LTD., 1991.  A source book of fascinating facts, projects, and activities.